2011-12 Record: 50-16, first place in Eastern Conference, eliminated in first round of NBA Playoffs by Philadelphia 76ers
2012 NBA Draft: G Marquis Teague (Kentucky, 29th overall pick)
Offseason Additions: G Kirk Hinrich (sign-and-trade with Atlanta Hawks), G Marco Belinelli (1 year, $1.06 million), G Nate Robinson (1 year, $1.22 million), F Vladimir Radmanovic (1 year, $1.35 million), C Nazr Mohammad (1 year, $1.35 million)
Offseason Losses: G C.J Watson (signed with Brooklyn Nets), G John Lucas III (signed with Toronto Raptors), G Ronnie Brewer (signed with New York Knicks), G Kyle Korver (sign-and-trade to Atlanta Hawks), C Omer Asik (refused to match offer from Houston Rockets)
Projected Starting Line-Up: PG Kirk Hinrich (until Derrick Rose returns), SG Richard Hamilton, SF Luol Deng, PF Carlos Boozer, C Joakim Noah
OFFSEASON GRADE: C -
The Bulls didn’t resign a single one of their free-agents.
The “Bench Mob” of C.J Watson, Omer Asik, John Lucas III, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer are now all members of other teams.
Former league MVP Derrick Rose is still recovering from a torn ACL that will more than likely keep him out of action for half of the upcoming 2012-13 season.
Things are looking dire in the “Windy City”, that’s for sure.
I will give credit where credit is due though. Despite all of the bad luck surrounding this team as of late, General Manager Gar Forman is doing everything in his power to keep this team afloat in the Eastern Conference. He’s making moves, signing talent and is, at the very least, proving to his fans that the franchise is not throwing in the towel next season just because of some unfortunate circumstances.
Not having Rose for a majority of the year is what will hurt the most. A line-up of Rose/Brewer/Deng/Boozer/Noah was the best five-man unit in the league last season. They outscored their opponents by 16.7 points per 48 minutes. When Rose was replaced with backup guard C.J Watson, those numbers dropped from 16.7 to -1.4, clearly showing the kind of impact Derrick had on this roster when he was on the court.
The Bulls are hoping that they can have Rose back playing basketball by the all-star break, but the smart money is on Derrick being out until March at the very latest.
Why rush him back?
If Rose isn’t 100%, then don’t bring him back. Period. The success of the Chicago Bulls revolves around Derrick Rose and his health. It’s better to look at the long-term rather than trying to please the fan base with wins and losses in 2013.
Speaking of wins and losses, fans will be hard pressed to expect the kind of success Chicago had last year when they finished with the best record in the league at 50-16.
This roster has gone a major overhaul, which is weird considering how effective they played last season as a whole. Out goes Asek, Brewer, Korver, Lucas III and Watson and in comes Belinelli, Robinson, Mohammad, Hinrich and Radmanovic to replace them. If coach Tom Thibodeau can get the most out of guys like John Lucas III and C.J Watson, then I’m sure he will have no problem doing the same with more talented players in Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson. It’s going to take an adjustment period though, and with Derrick Rose’s injury, even the strongest of benches won’t improve the Bulls chances to match last seasons success.
These new contracts also allow the team to have some flexibility at the end of next season. All of these new acquisitions are signed under 1 year deals which will give the Bulls the opportunity to possibly sign a superstar player to pair up with Derrick Rose. The team also has yet to use their amnesty provision, which will more than likely be used on a guy like Carlos Boozer to free up more space. Add to that a trade exception received in the Kyle Korver-Kirk Hinrich trade and you have the means to dramatically alter the future of this ball club in 2014.
What does that mean for the 2012-13 season? Not a heck of a lot.
Regardless of any of the moves Gar Forman has made, this team is going to struggle because of not having Derrick Rose.
Plain and simple.
The Chicago Bulls will be in a great position to improve their roster in 2014.
For now, 2013 will be hard to watch, at least until their heart and soul of the team returns.
You know it’s true.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports